Colombians protest against kidnappings

After the murder of 11 deputies by FARC guerrillas, Colombians decided to go to the streets and yell “No More Kidnappings“. It started as a citizen initiative, but soon the democratic security government, big companies and mainstream media supported it and invited people to join. The huge demonstration took place on Thursday 5 July at noon. Even Second Lifers protested. But leftist Alternative Democratic Pole preferred to convoke its “own march”, because it didn’t want to be supportive of president Uribe, who is also considered [by them] responsible for the death of the local lawmakers.

equinoXio had a big special with some pictures from its “correspondents” in 5 cities (Bogotá, Medellín [twice], Cali, Manizales, and Pasto). Padrino José, writing from Cali, recalls his experience:

They marched today, I was there, but what I felt was the loneliness of the deputies’ families, amidst callings from political caudillos taking advantages from banners, flags and puppets calling for rejection [of kidnappings], I saw the pre-candidates for next elections fishing in Cali river’s troubled waters. But the saddest thing and that what I didn’t want to listen was the way deputy [Carlos] Charry’s daughter [Carolina] was treated while she read a grateful letter in behalf of the families and who was booed by the crowd as she said:

“… Our deads belong to us. Thank you for mobilizing to reject the government’s policies…”

And it’s them, the relatives, who in a unobjectionable mix of pain and loneliness sheltered by a blanket have in my opinion the best version of what happened: unfulfilled promises, cancelled appointments, begs everywhere in a 5-year restless search for their release and nothing could achieve it, the will of the parts in order to help in the right moment was an already earned right and they couldn’t get it, and to their surprise, now, when they clamour for their deads the voices of pain seem to be selfish and strategic and they will surely hold up the path to reach an ending.

In Bogotá, Marsares says that there wasn’t a big march since there were several meeting points, so there were smaller marchs all over the city. According to him, there wasn’t a big “human chain” from downtown as announced, but there were some clashes among the ones standing a save haven for 45 days for FARC in order to they release the hostages and the others who claimed for a tougher policy against the terrorists. He also noticed the way some government officials were “instructing” pro-Uribe demonstrators.

Thilo Hanisch Luque posts a video and writes:

Maybe the terrorists in turn don’t hear the national clamour, as usual with guerrilla. But at least the victims’ relatives felt [Colombians joined] their pain today. There are approximately more than 3,000 kidnapped.

Atrabilioso‘s Jaime Restrepo interrupted his vacation to celebrate and say “At last!”. He started a few months ago a campaign against kidnapping and asking for the -now unconditional- freedom of all hostages: “This is a beginning, but hope awakens amidst pain”.

Doppiafila writes in Italian “Good-bye apathy?” and analyzes three aspects of the demonstration: the intensity of the country’s reaction to the deputies’ murder, the position of the government and the role played by the two main television networks.

In this case it’s easy to summarize: RCN and Caracol have promoted the march, have guaranteed its success, have followed it minute by minute and have interpreted its meaning in behalf of the 85% of Colombians who don’t read the newspapers (sorry: the newspaper).

It’s redundant to say that without the television push they had, the march wouldn’t had had that success; it’s also superfluous to say that without the live broadcast, the social impact would be quite inferior… maybe a two minutes report at night, nothing to compare with the continuous specials from the most important cities. It’s important though to remark this work of interpretation; let’s make it with a banal example: the choruses.

Let’s pretend two groups singing a slogan each: one, supportive to the government, “Uribe – Amigo – El pueblo está contigo” (“Uribe, our friend, the people is with you”); the other one, on the contrary yells, “Uribe – Paraco – El pueblo está berraco” (“Uribe, you paramilitary, the people is angry”). Good journalism would show them both, contextualized with balance. Bad journalism (the partisan one, so we understand each other) would concentrate on one of them (the second part) and minimizing the other one. Awful journalism would made the most convenient expression the centre of its coverage, giving that example the headline in red letters. Based on what I could watch, RCN and Caracol have avoided the “awful” one’s excesses, but they’ve been quite far from the “good” one, making this way a huge favour for Uribe, which will be acknowledged, sometime and somehow.

Finally, with his usual sarcasm, Bilioso slams the pretended “pacifism” of Colombians and the alleged “success” of the demonstrations, as FARC won’t return the bodies of the murdered deputies to their families and won’t stop kidnapping:

“Mainsanity” media say the march was successful. And it’s not true: it’s otherwise, the march was a failure. If the march asked for the release of the kidnapped then it was a failure because the kidnapped are still at the mountains and if the march asked for peace then it’s unnecessary to remark it was a devastating failure, another one. […]

The demonstrators, quite euphoric, went to the streets to ask for the return of the corpses of the 11 Valle del Cauca deputies murdered by the FARC terrorist army. It was very moving to see these supportive Bogotans to ask for the delivery of the stiffs, but I don’t remember seeing them in 2001 protesting on the death of 30 peasants in Chengue small village. They just forgot it for sure. No matter 30 is more than 11! I also don’t remember them marching against the massacre of 49 in Mapiripán, a 5-day massacre. In this upside down world 11 politicians are more important than 49 peasants, though the former only have 22 kidneys and the latter 98. And if we’re recalling “notable” deaths I also don’t remember seeing demonstrators in 2000 when 15 peasants were beaten to death with clubs in Macayepo. They’re so forgetful! Now, if we talk about numbers, El Salado massacre in 2000 would have deserved a huge march because more than 100 persons were killed with clubs and knives. Didn’t they? Of course not, you stupid Bilioso, don’t you see 100 peasants aren’t worth even half deputy? Jerk! I get it, 100 peasants who grow food for the demonstrators in Bogotá aren’t worth even half politico. Democracy stuff… Strange things for [Ripley’s] believe it or not such a war president going out and marching for peace. Does it make any sense? Mother of mine, why didn’t you give birth to me in Venezuela where there’s oil and land reform?

Bilioso also transcribes a bloodcurdling testimony of a survivor of a massacre perpetrated by paramilitaries.

2 responses to “Colombians protest against kidnappings

  1. Hello! Maybe we did something useful with all of this articles and the marching people around the country. If the guerrilla decided to give back the bodies of the murdered deputies is because they had to. People pressing them gave real results.

    Am I an idealist? I don’t know. But I guess we could continue pressing for giving freedom back to all of those who are kidnapped.

    Best wishes.

  2. Some more pictures of the march in Medellin with reference to the oportunists taking advantage of the march to promote their political views, and those who took the oportunity and turned it into a business venture by selling whistles, white handkerchiefs and noisemakers.

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